Fix Google Chrome's font looking off - gHacks Tech News

Fix Google Chrome's font looking off

When I installed Google Chrome Canary the other day on a new Windows machine, I noticed right away that the font looked off in the browser's interface and on websites that I opened in the browser.

While I knew that Chrome's font rendering could be bad under certain circumstances, the fact that it happened on the machine was surprising as I did not experience the issue in Chrome Stable on the same PC.

You can check out the font rendering on the screenshot below that I got initially after the installation of Google Chrome Canary on the device.

chrome font off

As you can see, the font does not look good particularly and it was even worse on other internal pages such as the chrome://flags page.

Chrome Canary is the cutting edge version of Google Chrome, and one possible explanation for the issue in Canary and not Chrome Stable was that Google tweaked something in Canary that was not yet applied to Stable as well.

It is more likely, however, that the issue is caused by the computer's hardware and installed drivers, and not a general issue affecting all Chrome Canary installations.

Research on the Internet brought up all kinds of suggestions some dating back as early as Chrome 3. Suggestions included disabling ClearType, changing DirectWrite on chrome://flags, installing advanced font settings, or running Chrome with different startup parameters.

None of these really worked as many of them dated back years and suggested fixes that could not be applied anymore to recent versions of Chrome.

I did discover the solution to fix the font rendering issue in Chrome, however. Check out the screenshot below first to see how text in Chrome looked after I made the change.

chrome fonts good

Here is what I did to fix the text rendering issue in Google Chrome Canary:

  1. Load chrome://settings/ in the browser's address bar or select Menu > Settings.
  2. Click on "advanced" at the bottom of the page.
  3. Scroll down to the "system" section.
  4. Toggle "Use hardware acceleration when available" to off.
  5. Restart Google Chrome.

That is all it took to resolve the font rendering issue. Disabling hardware acceleration may have a performance impact on certain tasks that benefit from it.

It is up to you to decide whether it is worth keeping the functionality enabled or if better text rendering in Chrome is more worthwhile.

You can undo the change at any time by repeating the steps outlined above and toggling the hardware acceleration feature to on.

Fix Google Chrome's font looking off
Article Name
Fix Google Chrome's font looking off
When I installed Google Chrome Canary the other day on a new Windows machine, I noticed right away that the font looked off in the browser's interface and on websites that I opened in the browser.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. James T. said on May 5, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks for the article Martin
    I first noticed the problem on Youtube
    I thought something was wrong with
    μBlock Origin disabling remote fonts

  2. Bobby Phoenix said on May 5, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    HA has been causing some issue on both Chrome and Firefox lately. Firefox’s main issue is green bars on videos. Turing HA off fixes it. HA has been around for years, and I haven’t seen so many issues than this past year. I wonder what has changed so drastically that now HA is almost a bad thing instead of a good thing.

    1. Weilan said on May 5, 2018 at 7:17 pm

      On Chrome stable with HA on I started geeting some black squares on the screen, when I move the mouse around or scroll the page they change place. I’d turn HA off, but Google Maps loses its 3D capabilities.

  3. jasray said on May 5, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Seems like a number of users find different fixes:

    Yes, rather old post, but some interesting ideas for testing.

    I’ve used Canary, but never a problem.

    Maybe changing default fonts to something else. It’s something Linux users tend to like.

  4. Sidney said on May 6, 2018 at 12:02 am

    I have Chrome Canary installed just to check new features on new releases.
    This bug was reported to Chromium project?

  5. Sir Pixelot said on May 6, 2018 at 12:07 am

    I just installed Chrome Canary (Version 68.0.3421.0 (Official Build) canary (64-bit)) to reproduce this issue, and I have the same problem. I think this is related to this build of Chrome as it is constantly being updated, and not likely to be the system, as you proposed, since Chrome stable works without this error.

    1. Makazeu said on May 6, 2018 at 5:45 am

      Version 68.0.3421.0 has the same issue in Chinese language.

  6. sam said on May 6, 2018 at 1:01 am

    Thank you for this post!

    I sent an email to chrome as is was only happening in canary and not in chrome. turned this option off and error resolved straight away;

    not sure why it chose this morning to crap out on me tho.. has been set to ‘on’ this whole time with no issue (since install a few months ago)

    that’s the way with computers.. don’t ask why.. just accept..

  7. sam said on May 6, 2018 at 1:08 am

    Interesting tho that even once changed; canary seems to ‘revert’ back to hardware acc enabled and then repeats the same error?

    must be something their end given everyone seems to be posting this morning??

  8. sam said on May 6, 2018 at 1:08 am

    back to chrome for the moment..

  9. Raj said on May 6, 2018 at 2:29 am

    Hello Martin, did you change your scaling settings? There’s an option in the new windows 1803 under advanced scaling options. It does the trick for me especially on Ms Word. The fonts looked so blurry for such a long time.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 6, 2018 at 7:06 am

      No I did not. The machine I ran Chrome Canary on was a Windows 10 version 1709 system.

  10. ULBoom said on May 6, 2018 at 4:31 am

    Noticed the same on a newer gaming desktop with Win 10 1703. Uninstalled chrome, installed FF, downloaded wollyss chromium, no font issues there or on my laptop. The nasty font looked like IE did for years, even worse. Hardware acceleration shouldn’t have to be turned off, somethings not right with chrome. Odd thing was when chrome was first opened it looked fine but there was an update nag I hit that messed up fonts when reopened after updating. They’ll fix it.

    Kids had clogged the desktop with junkware (3 AV’s running at once?!) so I never would have seen the chrome issue if I hadn’t been scouring the PC. Amazing after using computers for ten years, there could be a piano inside one and they’d not know the difference!

  11. Captain Obvious said on May 6, 2018 at 6:25 am

    It’s just a bug in Canary:

  12. Karuna Lalvani said on May 6, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Thanks, it worked.

  13. lili said on May 6, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Thanks so much! I wish I’d seen this before trying other millions ways of fixing it (not working, o course).

  14. Gideon said on May 6, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Thanks, it worked for me – even yet when I write this message the text dynamically changes from”bad” to “good” as I type

  15. Yuliya said on May 6, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    On or off, here Chrom* looks the same, and it’s horrible:

    1. Anonymous said on May 6, 2018 at 8:32 pm

      Chrome font rendering is shitty no matter what, the only browser that have a good font rendering on Windows is Firefox (and their forks). What you’re seeing with Chrome stable is the “normal”, it’s the way it’s.

  16. Lord Lestat said on May 6, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Chromium and hardware acceleration…. Works only really great on recent machines. Who has a bit outdated hardware.. or drivers… best to turn it off in general.

    1. Bobby Phoenix said on May 6, 2018 at 7:08 pm

      Outdated? My machine is only one year old. I’d hardly call that outdated. All the latest drivers/updates are installed.

    2. Anonymous said on May 7, 2018 at 5:24 am

      I have 4 year old machine and working without problem. Hardware acceleration has been a long time feature in browsers.

      As stated by the comments above, this bug is only for beta version not the stable version.
      What do you expect using beta version software?

  17. Anonymous said on June 19, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Even with HA disabled, I still get terrible font rendering on many pages. The line thickness is inconsistent, even for the same letter. I have tried messing with cleartype settings, desktop scaling, etc. and nothing seems to make any difference. It makes trying to read affected websites very difficult.

  18. shruti said on June 20, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Great, it worked!!

  19. Anonymous said on July 30, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Great working fine

  20. Anonymous said on September 21, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    THANKS ! worked !!!

  21. some dud said on October 11, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    holy shit it worked man thanks u are a genius

  22. Anonymous said on October 14, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Thanks a lot Martin

  23. RPC said on November 7, 2018 at 11:32 am


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